Caliban’s War

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This is the second book in the Leviathan Wakes series by James SA Corey. Just as good as the first, this is a story about how much a father loves his daughter, moral choices, and politics — just as much as it is the continuation of the story arc around the alien visitor. I haven’t seen this far in the Netflix series, but I sure hope they get this right, because its a very good story so far.

Caliban's War Book Cover Caliban's War
James S. A. Corey
Fiction
Orbit Books
April 30, 2013
624

For someone who didn't intend to wreck the solar system's fragile balance of power, Jim Holden did a pretty good job of it. While Earth and Mars have stopped shooting each other, the core alliance is shattered. The outer planets and the Belt are uncertain in their new - possibly temporary - autonomy. Then, on one of Jupiter's moons, a single super-soldier attacks, slaughtering soldiers of Earth and Mars indiscriminately and reigniting the war. The race is on to discover whether this is the vanguard of an alien army, or if the danger lies closer to home.

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Leviathan Wakes

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I read this book based on the recommendation of Richard Jones, and its really really good. A little sci-fi, a little film noir, and very engaging. I also like that bad things happen to good people in the story — its gritty and unclean enough to be believable.

I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone, but I really enjoyed this and have already ordered the sequels. Oh, and there’s a Netflix series based off these books that I’ll now have to watch too.

Leviathan Wakes Book Cover Leviathan Wakes
James S.A. Corey
Fiction
Orbit
June 15, 2011
592

The book is the basis for the first season of The Expanse, a new original series premiering on Syfy in December 2015. Leviathan Wakes is James S. A. Corey's first novel in the epic series the Expanse, a modern masterwork of science fiction where humanity has colonized the solar system. Two hundred years after migrating into space, mankind is in turmoil. When a reluctant ship's captain and washed-up detective find themselves involved in the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings our solar system to the brink of civil war, and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history.

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Downbelow Station

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As I write up comments on books I’ve read in the last little while but left lying around my desk instead of blogging and filing, I find this book sitting there taunting me. I really wanted to like this book, I was quite excited when I bought it. However, Its Cherryh at her worst — wordy and kind of goes nowhere. There’s an interesting idea here, but the book needs to be half its current length. I got half way through and gave up. A disappointment.

Downbelow Station Book Cover Downbelow Station
C. J. Cherryh
Fiction
DAW
1981
439

The station at Pell's Star, traditionally neutral, holds the key to victory in a struggle between the decaying stellar empire of Earth and the rebel forces of the colonies, in a twentieth anniversary edition, complete with a special introduction by the author, of the classic science fiction novel. Reissue.

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The Martian

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I bought this book because of a review I saw online recently, and I have to say I loved it. Its interesting, humorous, and a generally fun read with a story line that I haven’t seen before. Its refreshing to encounter a new author who has some genuinely new ideas to explore. I highly recommend this book.

The Martian Book Cover The Martian
Andy Weir
Fiction
Random House
August 28, 2014
369

The bestseller behind the major film from Ridley Scott, starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain. I'm stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Earth. I'm in a Habitat designed to last 31 days. If the Oxygenator breaks down, I'll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I'll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I'll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I'll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I'm screwed.

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Earthbound

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This is the third book in the Marsbound series. The Others have just turned off all electronics on Earth, and now we need to survive. One problem with this book is that it jumps straight into the action — I had to go back and re-read Marsbound and Starbound in order to understand what was happening in this book. That was ok because those two books are excellent, and I enjoyed re-reading them. In fact, those two are probably a little better than this one.

Overall Earthbound is pretty dark, and there isn’t a lot of hope presented — its just a series of scenes where the main characters attempt to deal with an all powerful adversary. Perhaps if the Others weren’t so powerful this would be a better book, because you just know that everyone is doomed. I also respect authors who are willing to kill off lead characters, but that happens a lot in this book, which sort of bothered me. Perhaps that’s what combat is really like though — people you have an attachment to just stop being there. There’s no warning or explanation.

The end of this book isn’t very satisfying. There better be a sequel or I’m going to be annoyed.

[isbn: 9781937007836]

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Logos Run

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This is the continuation from Runner, and continues the story of the attempt to re-enable the star gates. It has the comicly incompetent Technosociety once again, as well as series of genetically engineered protagonists. I am bothered by why the star gate power supplies cause people to fall ill — you’d think in a highly advanced society capable of building star gates they might have spent some time on shielding. Or did the shielding somehow fail on all the power sources sometime over the thousands of years of decay? The has a disappointing ending, but was a fun read until then. I find it hard to suspend disbelief about how the AIs present themselves, but apart from that the book was solid. This one is probably not as good as the first.

[isbn: 0441015360; 9780441015368]

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Runner

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I bought this book on impulse, and I am glad I did. The book is very Buddhist in its outlook, and characters believe in reincarnation, which makes it ok for people to die. There sure is a lot of that happening in this book, perhaps more so than in Dietz’s combat books. The underlying story is very different from the other Dietz stuff I have read, and very good. The Legion of the Damned books suffer from very one dimensional characterizations of their female characters, whereas this book has a strong female as a leading and fully developed character, which is a nice change. I enjoyed this book.

[isbn: 9780441014095]

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Red Mars

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This is another book on colonization. To be totally honest I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second, and I rather thought the book dragged on and could have done with a more vigorous editing. There are sections which are deeply descriptive, but it doesn’t progress the story. Overall, I was a little disappointed.

[isbn: 0553560735]
[awards: hugo nominee 1993; nebula winner 1993]

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A World Out of Time

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I was reading about cryogenics a couple of weeks ago, and that got me interested in stories around that topic. This book was one of those recommended as exploring the implications of being woken up after a long time. The first half of this book is better than the last half to be honest. I liked how the world had changed, and thought the employment prospects for a recently thawed person were both clever, and possible. However, the distant future world at the end of the book didn’t seem as well done to me, and was a stretch at best. An ok book, but not the best I have read recently.

[isbn: 345257502]

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Rendezvous With Rama

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This is a classic book, so I expected a lot from it. I was a little disappointed to be honest. The book is slow, although interesting. There chapters are all very short as well (around four or five pages), which is a little odd. There is a lot of potential with this concept, and I feel this book could have gone a lot further.

[isbn: 0330240242]
[awards: winner hugo 1974; winner nebula 1973]

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